MT. LEBANON (KDKA) — As the debt debate continues in Congress, some local voters took their concerns to the streets protesting outside one congressman’s office.
“Stop working for Wall Street! Work for us! Stop working for Wall Street! Work for us,” the crowd chanted.
The small but loud group of demonstrators protested outside Congressman Tim Murphy’s Mt. Lebanon office. They are worried he will support a Republican debt ceiling plan that would cut Social Security and Medicare benefits and not raise taxes on millionaires.
“All they’re talking about is cuts and they’re not talking about raising any revenues from the wealthy,” says MaryEllen Deckard, of Action United. “Do you know how much less taxes major corporations pay right now than they did in 1960? It’s ridiculous. We’re all paying more. They’re all paying less.”
The protest occurred as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wrestled with a debt ceiling bill pushed by Speaker John Boehner. Murphy said nobody’s taxes should be raised.
“We have got to get jobs going again,” said Murphy in a phone interview. “And raising taxes at this time is not going to do it.”
Murphy, who supports Boehner’s bill, said he opposes cuts in Social Security and that Boehner’s plan puts off any entitlement cuts, leaving it to a bi-partisan commission.
“When Social Security was started decades ago, most people didn’t live to age 65. The average death was around 62,” said Murphy. “Now they live much longer and our children and grandchildren are going to live into their 90s and 100s. How Social Security is managed has to be dealt with.”
But protestors insist Republicans manufactured this debt ceiling controversy.
“This is a phony crisis. It’s been raised time and time again. President Reagan raised it, what – 18 times?” says protester Erin Gill of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.
For Republican congressmen like Tim Murphy, who represent moderate even majority Democratic districts, this whole debt ceiling crisis raises lots of political issues. No matter what he does, it seems Murphy is bound to anger a lot of constituents.